Would you know what to do?

Making amends with Moms

At its core, this blog aims to do some good. I don’t like to ask for things. It’s not why I write. Today is an exception. I’m going to ask you to learn about and maybe support an important cause. The topic is sudden cardiac death–our number-one killer. There are a lot of folks working […]

Two more issues on the treatment of Sudden Death in the young person…

SCD due to VF in a patient wearing a 24 ECG monitor

There was a flurry of words written today about preventing the rare but tragic occurrence of sudden cardiac death in a young person. At the heart of the debate lies the issue of how best to protect the young from dying. I think it’s worth making two more points on this issue. Treating Sudden Death: […]

An important message from the Heart Rhythm Society

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 6.02.17 PM

You all know how I feel about the value of education in the treatment and prevention of heart disease: It is self-evident and unquestionable. Along the lines of educating patients and docs, and in the spirit of February being Heart Health Awareness month, I believe The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) deserves strong mention for their […]

Oops…ICDs don’t bounce

Medtronic ICD

Whenever someone asks about the cost of an ICD (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator), an image pops into my brain. The image that I see is how the ICD gets handed to me during the implant surgery. Imagine: Careful. Cautious. Consider how you would pass your new brand new iPad 2 to a friend, then multiply that […]

A five-minute cardiac screen for athletes?

It’s heart-wrenching when young athletes die of sudden cardiac death (SCD). This week, the death of Wes Leonard, a Michigan high school star athlete, was especially poignant since he collapsed right after hitting the game-winning shot.  This sort of tragedy occurs about one hundred times each year in America. That’s a lot of sadness. The […]

Unlike Watson, Human Docs are Influenced by Life

My friend called to tell me what happened. His voice cracked. Jim thought that it was a normal Sunday morning ride. He was meeting his friends, and they were riding their normal route, on roads called Covered Bridge, Sleepy Hollow and Wolf Pen Branch. It was one of those Sunday mornings in Kentucky that makes […]

Double counting…

The implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) is a life saving therapy. But, like any medical treatment there are potential adverse effects. With ICDs, we are trying to prevent this…(a slide from the 1980s) But in doing so we sometimes get this… Which is supposed to look like this…(same patient–hours later, with no intervention) ICDs have been […]

The positive side of Implantable Cardiac Devices…

Today was one of those days where you are hopelessly behind schedule, always thinking 3 tasks ahead, and wondering when the finish line will appear. After bemoaning the misuse of ICDs yesterday, today I found two pretty sweet examples of how implantable titanium and silicone can enhance and extend the lives of real patients. The […]

A simple phone call…

His wife said, “I couldn’t wake him from his nap.”  The coroner told her he died in his sleep without moving a muscle.  His family doctor told me that Parkinson’s had slowed him greatly in the past year. He was 81, and the day before, he had enjoyed the usual lunch with friends. His multi-lead […]

The beeping shocker vest: The antithesis of common sense…

Unfortunately, there are therapies in medical practice which become worse than the disease they are intended to treat.  Us heart specialists are not immune from these transformative therapies. Even dumber than the ineffective rhythm drug that comes highly recommended by academia, is the LifeVest: a wearable automatic shock collar for people. He was in his […]